The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]


Failure Is Only Valuable If You Learn From It …
August 5, 2011, 6:10 am
Filed under: Comment

So last Thursday John Dodds took me to some advertising get-together in Shoreditch.

At first I thought this was very kind of him, however within 13 seconds of hearing the first speaker, I realised it was possibly the most evil act of revenge I’ve ever encountered.

I can’t remember the name of the first speaker – I can’t even remember the name of the event I was at – however for someone who had a pretty awesome premise behind his speech – he managed to create something so annoying that I literally hoped the small venue would catch fire and put me out of my misery.

And yet it could have been so different …

As I said, the first 13 seconds were promising.

He explained that he was going to talk about what he had had learnt by losing his company approx 600,000 pounds through bad decisions, experiments and projects … however once those 13 seconds were over, it went downhill faster than superman on steroids.

Apart from the fact he was trying desperately to appear funny, cool and blasé – which he wasn’t, on any level – he had filled his presentation with so many sound effects that you were left with the distinct impression he’d just discovered how to do those things in keynote and was determined to shove as many effects in each slide as was physically possible.

The end result was an annoying, disjointed and completely distracting presentation that meant you weren’t sure whether you were supposed to watch the screen or hear his rambling rubbish.

But it gets worse.

Much, much worse.

You see, while he had promised to explain the lessons he’d learnt from losing his company over half a million quid, all he actually ended up explaining was why you’d be better off trusting Bernie Madoff with your business decisions than him.

Seriously, it was that bad.

But what nearly pushed me to the edge of mass murder was the reaction from the audience.

In short, they seemed to like him.

LIKE HIM!

Seriously, their reaction almost single handily make me think this industry is doomed.

OK, so I was surrounded by a wonderful selection of Shoreditch’s finest … all tight trousers, NHS type specs and crazy hairstyles … but even so, I still thought they’d be able to tell the difference between [bad] entertainment and valuable insight.

Of course, being entertaining in a presentation is important, however it tends to be better if you have something valuable to say rather than just look like a bloke who is desperate to have friends. Mind you to be fair, even when he accidentally let something interesting out from his gob [Having a #1 app in the Apple store still lost them tens of thousands of pounds] no one tended to notice its importance because it appears commercial value played very little importance in their lives, even though that is exactly why companies hire them and their employers.

And that’s what bothered me so much, because at a time where companies are increasingly questioning the value of our business, this guy’s presentation premise had the potential to be really interesting and valuable but instead, he acted like ‘losing’ was a badge of honour but it isn’t – not by any stretch of the imagination – and anyone who celebrates failure for failures sake should be working with the Jackass boys, not the commercial creative industry.


74 Comments

you sick twisted evil bastard doddsy. i should be proud of you but thats a low blow even for campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

I think I am still suffering from the violation!

Comment by Rob

doddsy or shoreditch?

Comment by andy@cynic

fuck jeering him campbell, why didnt you lamp the fucker?

Comment by andy@cynic

Two reasons:

1/ I was at the back of a crowded room.
2/ I’m half Italian. [Sorry Mum]

Comment by Rob

you could do a speech like that campbell. how you lost me millions by either doing projects your found “interesting” for fucking free or how you diddled me out of my rightful cash because of some bollocks legal technifuckingcality that said you owned more shares in cynic than i did. thieving bastard.

i take it back doddsy, you were right to take him to wanker hell.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d rather be with the jackass crew than the shoreditch pretend mafia any day. They’d be more fun and talk less shit.

Well done on not killing anyone Rob, even though I’m sure you tried.

Comment by DH

theyd make better fucking ads and have better chicks around them too.

Comment by andy@cynic

arent youre wieden friends in shoreditch? could be worse, could be clerkenwell or even fucking worse, the wine and wankers brigade of 1987. you know why the fuck im talking about campbell.

Comment by andy@cynic

on the bright fucking side campbell, doddsys sick fucking day trip got you to write the best fucking post youve written in a long time. and its way fucking better than yesterdays pretend deep and meaningful because this has anger seeping through every word and like dr bruce banner, youre much more fucking exciting when youre angry.

Comment by andy@cynic

Your final paragraph should be mandatory reading for anyone who wants to enter commercially creative industries. Great write up of what sounds like a glimpse of hell.

Comment by Bazza

Was the money he lost his money, his employers or his investors? If it was his, he’s an idiot. If it was his employers, they’re an idiot and if it was his investors he’s a criminal.

Comment by Pete

for once i dont mind your over fucking serious comment bollocks pete. still being a bit soft because even calling this bloke a cock weeping with puss criminal would be too good for him by the sounds of it.

Comment by andy@cynic

Bloody hell, calling him a criminal is a bit much – he didn’t do it with the intention of losing money – though with a couple seconds of more consideration, he’d probably of worked out that was going to be the inevitable conclusion to his misguided ideas.

Experimentation is one thing. Full on production of a finished product without really considering the reasoning behind it or for it is a completely different matter.

Comment by Rob

stop beating about the fucking bush campbell, hes a crim. if some bastard took my money and blew it on shit because he didnt give a fuck about the return then the bastard needs a kicking and a jail sentence. bit like you.

Comment by andy@cynic

What can I say, it’s always good to take people out of their comfort zone and, predictably enough, the streets of Shoreditch certainly weren’t to our hero’s taste.

That said, not only did i have to listen to the clown’s talk which was every bit as appalling as detailed above, but I had to stand next to someone with a bandaged wrist and a bag full of docos and bad music who gave an impression of the nutter on the bus with his repeated outbursts of indignation. And then some hipster comes and thanks him for being an entertaining back-channel!

Comment by John

youve just made me love campbell a little bit more. was his mad muttering loud, inappropriate and full of bile, piss and vinegar?

Comment by andy@cynic

sounds like the good old days when you were exciting to be around campbell. almost wish i was there but i would come to my fucking senses before it stood a chance of happening.

doddsy is a genius. you should thank him, id written you off but now i might let you back in to my inner circle. only on a fucking trial basis and only on the perimeter.

Comment by andy@cynic

Neither loud nor inappropriate but overflowing with the others. Sadly they didn’t risk asking the audience for questions.

Comment by John

not inappropriate? because the guy deserved all the shit campbell was throwing at him or because you turned the nottingham nutter into a fucking nun?

Comment by andy@cynic

The former. Unfortunately they were largely drowned out by the sound effects.

Comment by John

At least he didn’t wear that peach monstrosity

Comment by northern

just what did you take him to doddsy and who was this twat that needs a kicking?

more fucking importantly, what did you think of the presentation because campbell automatically gets irritated and angry at functions that feature london media types, 18 year old business, advertising or designer types who think they know it all but have only achieved in sponging off their leftie fucking parents for the past 5 years, snobs, posh rugby types, mba twats and keynote users. especially keynote users with sound effects. was it really as shit as it sounds?

Comment by andy@cynic

I have no idea who he was – I took Rob to see the two other speakers who he will admit were very good indeed, but this guy was unbelievable. If only there had been cameras. Oh hang on…

Comment by John

hes only happy when he hates something.

Comment by andy@cynic

We only stayed for one more [though we’re not supposed to admit to that are we John!] – but admittedly she was absolutely fantastic and the guy we missed, Matt, is a top bloke who I’ve seen before … so it wasn’t a total Shoreditch nightmare, even if speaker number 1 took me to depths that even a live audience with Queen would be hard pressed to pull me out of.

Comment by Rob

And, by the way, this was not the most ridiculous aspect of his visit. Oh no. Expect a post about hotel food very soon.

Comment by John

we all expect that doddsy, this is a welcome fucking relief. you did well. im assuming you chose this to fuck campbell off, you wouldnt go to this sort of shit on your own accord. youd better fucking not or youre a bigger twat than campbell and hes world record standard.

Comment by andy@cynic

But were there any hot art student or designer chicks there?

Comment by Billy Whizz

not standing within a 100 foot radius of londons answer to the very fucking odd couple.

Comment by andy@cynic

Especially with Rob’s choice of aftershave.

Comment by Billy Whizz

excellent fucking insulting.

Comment by andy@cynic

and that means a fucking lot coming from me.

Comment by andy@cynic

* Pride *

Comment by Billy Whizz

Or Rosewood and Taggart

Comment by northern

Not for long.

Comment by John

Oh and Rob forgot to mention that the theme of the talk was “succailure” – do you see what he did there? I kid you not.

Comment by John

what a bunch of funts.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d forgotten about that … he openly stated his goal was to create industry ‘buzzwords’, which highlights just how bad and mad he – and his presentation – really were.

Comment by Rob

As Robert states this man talked about losing money despite being #1 at the app store (assuming it was for paid apps) the premise of the speech sounds like it had bags of potential. Discussing the financial return for the company behind the creativity would be hugely interesting so it’s a shame the man who presented sounds a bit of a prick.

Comment by George

when auntie fucking george calls someone a prick they must be a motherfucking bastard prick.

congratulations george, welcome to my world.

Comment by andy@cynic

Yes George. Paid-for apps. I hope I’m recalling the right example, but I think it was revenue in the region of 25,000 on an outlay of 70,000

Comment by John

Number 1 is not what it used to be.

Comment by George

talent isnt what it fucking used to be.

Comment by andy@cynic

That was the biggest disappointment for me George.

The potential benefits of failure have been talked about for years [JFK even made a speech about it I think] but having someone openly talk about the financial implications of those failures is very rare which is why I was so excited for the first 13 seconds.

To be fair, the guy did kind-of touch on it, however it all ended up being a case of him saying “look at how cool I am, I lost half a million quid and can laugh about it” rather than talk about what were the lessons he learnt from the experience and how it changed their approach.

In the end, he came across as the equivalent of an ambulance chasing lawyer – all gusto and little thought, playing the numbers game to achieve success, even though – by the examples he gave us – he’s still looking for the big win.

Comment by Rob

look at the planner boys getting all deep and fucking meaningful. makes me fucking sick.

Comment by andy@cynic

Nice post Rob. I also think there’s way to much failure gratification, it’s-more-important-to-be-interesting-than-to-be-right talk without anybody taking the time to actually take lessons from it.

Sounds like this guy was ultimately more interested in selling himself than sharing what he learned, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as long as he indeed learned something.

Comment by Rafik

He may of sold himself to the Shoreditch hipster community, but if there were any clients in that room, he did a great job at ruling himself out of any possible business. Though in terms of the PR he managed to generate for his loss making ideas, he could be a star.

Comment by Rob

I’m unsure as to who was luckier to survive. The presenter, the audience or Robert.

Some of the other commentators have stated it, but the final paragraph is particularly strong.

Comment by Lee Hill

The best bit about the experience [bar the fact the other speaker I saw was brilliant, mainly because she was talented, humble and interesting] is that it reminded me why I left London adland … and I’m sure they feel exactly the same.

Comment by Rob

Rob,

would you hire this guy? Yes he has some issues.. however, he also had/has skills to actually make an idea happen (however misguided).. Something that a lot of people don’t have..

Almost like teaching a power hitter finesse footwork in boxing.. the other way does not work, teaching power to finesse..

Could he become good with guidance?

Comment by niko

Based on his presentation, I wouldn’t hire him. The ‘trying and doing’ bit is good, but his attitude and viewpoint made me angry … actually angry.

I’m sure privately he would be a different person, so maybe my opinion would change, however my concern would be that if he this was how he was happy to present himself to his peers, then his ability to discuss creative business in front of clients may be scary.

Maybe that could be trained into him – maybe it would just need him to be taken out of ‘commercial conversations’ and leave that to a better qualified individual – however at his age and seniority, you’d hope that would already be inbuilt, hence I’d be more inclined to hire young and malleable rather than old and set.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter because he probably has more money than I could muster in 100 lifetimes so he won’t exactly be crying over my critique.

Even though he should be, ha!

Comment by Rob

I like this post a lot. if only because you have painted a accurate picture of a true exponent of the last decade: people got rich despite of their skills.. by being in the right place, right time, like many a trader on Wall street..

Riding a wave when markets go, is not a business skill. To bad it always takes a recession/act of horror to find out if one has them (or any skill we claim to have in ‘peace time’) or not…

Comment by niko

So true Niko.

A billionaire I know – as you do – told me that 75% of his fortune is down to being in the right place at right time. Of course he’s underselling his talent and skill, but knowing the whole story behind much of the creation of his wealth means I can say a massive part of it is due to exactly that … except he has the skills to grow it, rather than blow it and he’s done more experimentation than Mr Shoreditch Tosser could do in 100 years.

And for clarity, it’s not “that” billionaire.

Comment by Rob

I remember asking a question slating Kevin Roberts and Lovemarks on your behalf at a summit…

Comment by Rob Mortimer

I know … I will always love you for that!

Comment by Rob

Was this the sort of event that would be filmed for posterity?

Comment by tom

More likely one where people talked out of theirs.

Comment by John

If it was, you’d not see the presenter because everyone would be too busy “accidently” walking past the camera with their cheeks sucked in and their fucking sunglasses on.

Comment by Rob

Shoreditch is a parody of itself. Every afternoon I have to dodge armies of hipster kids with their shit clothes (Hipster of Homeless?) and their SLR’s (sometimes proper old film ones depending where they sit on the “authentic” scale). They’re all hanging around sitting in the dirty gutters drinking or taking photos of steet art and “being part of the moment” and shit.

PS. still gutted i missed you 🙁

Comment by Age

Hipster vs homeless. There’s a game in that somewhere.

Gutted I missed you too … but I bet John is happy because it meant he got to spend more time in my company … the lucky, lucky fellow.

Comment by Rob

As a consolation I did spend the day and night in the outskirts of Coventry doing research.

Prob more like a punishment actually.

Comment by Age

There is nothing … absolutely nothing … redeeming about Coventry. The Nazi’s bombed it and caused improvements, that’s how bad it is.

Comment by Rob

But theyre rebranding http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fVwPW5OzYO4

Comment by John

Shoreditch has gone beyond parody into irony, cliche and all the way back so many times that no one knows quite where it lies anymore.

Comment by Rob Mortimer

Bit like Blackpool.

But more expensive and with less lights.

Comment by Rob

Bored John?

Comment by Rob

Never too bored or too busy to miss the opportunity to out you as a hipster.

Comment by John

if campbells a hipster i want to kill myfuckingself. and him. and doddsy for making that fucking horrible concept enter my delicate little fucking head.

Comment by andy@cynic

Oh John, you evil beautiful bastard.
Just to wind him up even more, take a look at this:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2011/aug/03/smiths-comics-morrissey-song

Comment by northern

you sick glorious fuck. funny how campbell hates the miserable droning bastards when he wears pretty much identical fucking clothing.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’d like to clarify that I most certainly do not mirror this quirk, while I despise Queen, in no way to I dress like Freddie Mercury. Obviously my hair is nothing like Brian May/Anita Dobson (it’s impossible to tell which is which)

Comment by northern

John has destroyed the hipster legacy forever and northern has been a brilliant bastard. This blog might be back. Or at least less shit.

Comment by Billy Whizz




Comments are closed.